29 February 2016


Your Holiness Pope Francis,

First of all we Greet your Holiness in the Name of the Almighty God

Your Holiness!

It is with great pleasure that we meet your Holiness here in the ancient city of the Vatican. Our meeting today is based on our previous fraternal relation established by our predecessors and aimed to make it deeper in the context of our mutual desires to search for better ways of real cooperation in the ministry of our churches.

We are very much grateful for the effort of Your Holiness in preserving the continuity of our Joint International Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches with strong hope that the Dialogue will result in building visible understanding about our churches.

We are also very grateful for Your Holiness’ prompt response and cordial expression of solidarity in numerous occasions especially during the recent martyrdom of the Ethiopian Christians by terrorist groups. Your Holiness’ message and ultimate recognition of the massacres as martyrs was of great significance for our Church. Moreover, the support of Your Church to our communities here in Rome and others in Diaspora plays a vital role in showing our commitment to the care and support of each other’s service to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

We are very ancient churches, who preserved the very early apostolic traditions, the faith of first three ecumenical councils and the teachings of the Holy Fathers of the Church. Our spiritual practices are deeply rooted in the Biblical, Apostolic and Patristic traditions, expressed in liturgies, prayers, sacraments, fasting and feasts. Our veneration to the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, saints, martyrs and angels are manifestations of our longstanding identity. Through history, we have had numerous occasions whereby we can establish our future collaborations in many aspects of the Church life.

Today we are facing several challenges in all parts of the world, violence and extremism are reviving against the most precious human life and environmental stability. In this regard our joint efforts, prayer, and solidarity are very essential. Our joint call and pilgrimage towards the peace and justice of the world should be influential locally and internationally for the sake of the human dignity and creation of peaceful world.

At the end we would like to express our sincere gratitude to have the opportunity to visit the holy places of the Holy Apostles, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, as well as Saint Ignatius of Antioch, which will be of unforgettable memory.

Your Holiness,

We extend our great appreciation for your brotherly love and hospitality. May the Almighty God preserve Your Holiness’ apostolic service and bless the church Your Holiness is leading.


Patriarch Abba Matthias I,
Patriarch of Ethiopia, Archbishop of Axum,
Echegue of the See St. Teklehaymanot


Rome, 29 February 2016


[Information Service 146 (2016/I) 16]